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My Take: What the Bible really says about homosexuality
The author argues that the meaning of the Bible's passages on homosexuality have been lost in translation.
May 15th, 2012
05:39 PM ET

My Take: What the Bible really says about homosexuality

Editor's note: Daniel A. Helminiak, who was ordained a priest in Rome, is a theologian, psychotherapist and author of “What the Bible Really Says about homosexuality" and books on contemporary spirituality. He is a professor of psychology at the University of West Georgia.

By Daniel A. Helminiak, Special to CNN

President Barack Obama’s support of same-sex marriage, like blood in the water, has conservative sharks circling for a kill. In a nation that touts separation of religion and government, religious-based arguments command this battle. Lurking beneath anti-gay forays, you inevitably find religion and, above all, the Bible.

We now face religious jingoism, the imposition of personal beliefs on the whole pluralistic society. Worse still, these beliefs are irrational, just a fiction of blind conviction. Nowhere does the Bible actually oppose homosexuality.

In the past 60 years, we have learned more about sex, by far, than in preceding millennia. Is it likely that an ancient people, who thought the male was the basic biological model and the world flat, understood homosexuality as we do today? Could they have even addressed the questions about homosexuality that we grapple with today? Of course not.

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Hard evidence supports this commonsensical expectation. Taken on its own terms, read in the original languages, placed back into its historical context, the Bible is ho-hum on homosexuality, unless – as with heterosexuality – injustice and abuse are involved.

That, in fact, was the case among the Sodomites (Genesis 19), whose experience is frequently cited by modern anti-gay critics. The Sodomites wanted to rape the visitors whom Lot, the one just man in the city, welcomed in hospitality for the night.

The Bible itself is lucid on the sin of Sodom: pride, lack of concern for the poor and needy (Ezekiel 16:48-49); hatred of strangers and cruelty to guests (Wisdom 19:13); arrogance (Sirach/Ecclesiaticus 16:8); evildoing, injustice, oppression of the widow and orphan (Isaiah 1:17); adultery (in those days, the use of another man’s property), and lying (Jeremiah 23:12).

But nowhere are same-sex acts named as the sin of Sodom. That intended gang rape only expressed the greater sin, condemned in the Bible from cover to cover: hatred, injustice, cruelty, lack of concern for others. Hence, Jesus says “Love your neighbor as yourself” (Matthew 19:19; Mark 12:31); and “By this will they know you are my disciples” (John 13:35).

How inverted these values have become! In the name of Jesus, evangelicals and Catholic bishops make sex the Christian litmus test and are willing to sacrifice the social safety net in return.

The longest biblical passage on male-male sex is Romans 1:26-27: "Their women exchanged natural intercourse for unnatural, and in the same way also the men, giving up natural intercourse with women, were consumed with passion for one another."

The Greek term para physin has been translated unnatural; it should read atypical or unusual. In the technical sense, yes, the Stoic philosophers did use para physin to mean unnatural, but this term also had a widespread popular meaning. It is this latter meaning that informs Paul's writing. It carries no ethical condemnation.

Compare the passage on male-male sex to Romans 11:24. There, Paul applies the term para physin to God. God grafted the Gentiles into the Jewish people, a wild branch into a cultivated vine. Not your standard practice! An unusual thing to do — atypical, nothing more. The anti-gay "unnatural" hullabaloo rests on a mistranslation.

Besides, Paul used two other words to describe male-male sex: dishonorable (1:24, 26) and unseemly (1:27). But for Paul, neither carried ethical weight. In 2 Corinthians 6:8 and 11:21, Paul says that even he was held in dishonor — for preaching Christ. Clearly, these words merely indicate social disrepute, not truly unethical behavior.

In this passage Paul is referring to the ancient Jewish Law: Leviticus 18:22, the “abomination” of a man’s lying with another man. Paul sees male-male sex as an impurity, a taboo, uncleanness — in other words, “abomination.” Introducing this discussion in 1:24, he says so outright: "God gave them up … to impurity."

But Jesus taught lucidly that Jewish requirements for purity — varied cultural traditions — do not matter before God. What matters is purity of heart.

“It is not what goes into the mouth that defiles a person, but it is what comes out of the mouth that defiles,” reads Matthew 15. “What comes out of the mouth proceeds from the heart, and this is what defiles. For out of the heart come evil intentions, murder, adultery, fornication, theft, false witness, slander. These are what defile a person, but to eat with unwashed hands does not defile.”

Or again, Jesus taught, “Everyone who looks at a women with lust has already committed adultery with her in his heart” (Matthew 5:28). Jesus rejected the purity requirements of the Jewish Law.

In calling it unclean, Paul was not condemning male-male sex. He had terms to express condemnation. Before and after his section on sex, he used truly condemnatory terms: godless, evil, wicked or unjust, not to be done. But he never used ethical terms around that issue of sex.

As for marriage, again, the Bible is more liberal than we hear today. The Jewish patriarchs had many wives and concubines. David and Jonathan, Ruth and Naomi, and Daniel and the palace master were probably lovers.

The Bible’s Song of Songs is a paean to romantic love with no mention of children or a married couple. Jesus never mentioned same-sex behaviors, although he did heal the “servant” — pais, a Greek term for male lover — of the Roman Centurion.

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Paul discouraged marriage because he believed the world would soon end. Still, he encouraged people with sexual needs to marry, and he never linked sex and procreation.

Were God-given reason to prevail, rather than knee-jerk religion, we would not be having a heated debate over gay marriage. “Liberty and justice for all,” marvel at the diversity of creation, welcome for one another: these, alas, are true biblical values.

The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of Daniel A. Helminiak.

- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: Bible • Christianity • Gay marriage • Opinion

soundoff (8,832 Responses)
  1. HenrytheVIII

    This is what I do not get: The bible this, the bible that... Come on! The bible is not a guide for ethical and decent behavior. It is a bunch or tales and stories with a moral message. Just like the Coran and many other religious books. Human rights are product of the evolution of human society. Some people will never accept this fact. What Happened when Galileo discovered that the earth was not the center of the universe? Religious intolerance got him canned. Many people will never accept facts just because a book they do not know well says something they do not understand.

    May 16, 2012 at 12:16 pm |
  2. Let's get honest

    This article affirms my belief that the Book of Mormon is the word of God. The Book of Mormon is a second witness of Christ from prophets in the ancient Americas. Its teachings clarify misunderstandings from the Bible and as a result doctrinal interpretations are clarified and misunderstandings erased. If you like to read, sit down and read the Book of Mormon, and the truth will penetrate into your heart.

    May 16, 2012 at 12:13 pm |
    • ChristopherM

      Really? Can the truth make it through your magical underwear?

      May 16, 2012 at 12:15 pm |
    • JOSEPH SMITH

      I WANT TO PENETRATE A LOT MORE THAN THAT.

      WITH MY PENIS.

      May 16, 2012 at 12:15 pm |
    • Voice of Reason

      Just my opinion but you are really missing the point of living.

      May 16, 2012 at 12:16 pm |
    • Let's get real

      You're crazy.

      May 16, 2012 at 12:18 pm |
    • Oh please

      Mitt, is that you? Don't you and your rich friends have a gay boy to beat up?

      May 16, 2012 at 12:22 pm |
    • hugeheathen

      That is a fabulous non sequitor you've got right there.

      May 16, 2012 at 12:27 pm |
    • Jacques Strappe, World Famous French Ball Juggler

      I knew it! Mormons think Book of Mormon > Bible
      Doesn't the Bible say something about not adding to the word of God? Why would God write a book 1800 years after all the other ones were penned? Why did he wait so long? What planet will I rule on as a Mormon?

      May 16, 2012 at 12:31 pm |
  3. Hope

    Ah. Humans are so funny. Our ideals have evolved over time, and that is good, But people really need to stop living in the past like the church seems to want us to.-From a Christian Man.

    May 16, 2012 at 12:13 pm |
    • JOSEPH SMITH

      YOU'RE A CHRISTIAN AND YOU SUPPORT GAY PEOPLE TOO?

      WOW, YOU ARE SOOOOOOOOOOO REVOLUTIONARY! I BET YOU'RE THE ONLY CHRISTIAN LIKE THIS!!! SOOOOOOOOOOOO ORIGINAL!!!1

      May 16, 2012 at 12:17 pm |
    • Oh please

      @John Smith

      Enough with the caps. Really, it just makes you look as crazy as these hyper christians.

      May 16, 2012 at 12:24 pm |
  4. Johnny

    The abomination is that CNN would actually let a former priest comment on the religious aspects of a controversial subject. Kinda like letting a reformed alcoholic comment on the pleasures of drinking.

    May 16, 2012 at 12:10 pm |
    • Bet

      I know, it's terrible how CNN allows free speech and all.

      May 16, 2012 at 12:12 pm |
    • pvt stuffy bra

      its funny so the media is one of the most bias things around it cant help it its one view of an event and religious accounts are the same so your reading a bias in a bias

      May 16, 2012 at 12:18 pm |
    • Johnny

      Not free speech. They're choosing who to allow to post headline articles. Not free. Not unbiased.

      May 16, 2012 at 12:20 pm |
    • Bet

      Yes, it is free speech. You came here and posted what you wanted to, and so am I.

      May 16, 2012 at 12:25 pm |
    • Johnny

      But we're not the headliners. When there is bias, there is not freedom. The headliners are determined by the editors, and whatever bias they have. This headline seems poised to create controversy thus generating ad revenue on the website.

      May 16, 2012 at 1:09 pm |
  5. WASP

    will one of you lovely christians please explain to me how you believe you understand the bible better then a person that not only attended a university, but was also an ordained priest in rome? seriously what type of creditials do you folks have that makes this gentleman wrong? i imagine most of the extremist christians i have seen on here attacking this man are nothing more than some prude that might attend church once a week if at all. i imagine most of the people badger his view take their cues from what their preacher taught them from childhood. ever ask your preacher where he got his degree? how about where your preacher recieved his ministry license? if you lack the education and experience of a doctor, how could you tell him he is doing his job incorrectly.......so what makes you think you can tell someone that truly dedicated his life to the teachings of christ that he is wrong?

    May 16, 2012 at 12:08 pm |
    • Bee

      Thanks for your excellent points. Many of the posters are just knee-jerk "Christians," who don't know the first thing about theology or Biblical history.

      May 16, 2012 at 12:12 pm |
    • Rob

      Like everyone else, he picks what applies to his argument. Lot offered his daughters in place of the male guests. The people turned him down. Then God took action. Not just as statement that it was wrong but destoryed the city. Pretty hard to hen peck that away.

      May 16, 2012 at 12:14 pm |
    • JCMars

      Soooooo, anyone who attended a university and studied to be a priest in Rome is always right? That explains the priest scandal, thanks for clearing this up.

      May 16, 2012 at 12:15 pm |
    • Amen

      They can't! They purely run on hatred and intolerance nothing less.

      May 16, 2012 at 12:15 pm |
    • Doug McBurney

      lot's of deviants have attended university and become pastors and priests. In fact Jesus himself warned us about them: “Beware of the scribes, who desire to go around in long robes, love greetings in the marketplaces, the best seats in the synagogues, and the best places at feasts, who devour widows’ houses, and for a pretense make long prayers. These will receive greater condemnation.” And, "Beware lest anyone cheat you through philosophy and empty deceit, according to the tradition of men, according to the basic principles of the world, and not according to Christ." And, "“ Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep's clothing, but inwardly they are ravenous wolves. You will know them by their fruits."

      May 16, 2012 at 12:17 pm |
    • Bet

      @Rob Hen peck it away? Sure, I'll give it a go. God doesn't exist. The bible was written and rewritten by powerful men who wanted to control their subjects. Lot and his daughters is a fairy tale.

      May 16, 2012 at 12:19 pm |
    • YeahRight

      "Lot offered his daughters in place of the male guests. The people turned him down. Then God took action. Not just as statement that it was wrong but destoryed the city"

      People who are being forced to have sex against there will is rape, it had nothing to do with what we now know and understand about gays today. Duh.

      May 16, 2012 at 12:29 pm |
    • WASP

      first off no not everyone that has a higher education is worthy of admiration. i was merely challenging the attackers on here to put their creditials against this guys and think if they have the right to tell him he is wrong. would you challenge a doctors evaluation of your health?

      here is what i found on the story of lot; it's a long read so i will just post the link.
      http://www.religioustolerance.org/chrincest.htm

      May 16, 2012 at 12:52 pm |
    • WASP

      @rob: " 9 “Get out of our way,” they replied. “This fellow came here as a foreigner, and now he wants to play the judge! We’ll treat you worse than them.” They kept bringing pressure on Lot and moved forward to break down the door."

      sounds to me they weren't wanting just s-e-x they were wanting revenge for how the "angels" strangers had come into town and treated them all as if they were being judged. the worst insult to a man during this time period would be to treatthem as a woman; it would strip them of their masculinity and make them appear weak. they were wanting to alienate these new comers and show them they were less than a man. quite an insult during that time period when women were seen as property.

      May 16, 2012 at 1:09 pm |
    • Mike Blackadder

      He went to university and was once a priest. So that means his argument is correct? This is a lazy form of argumentation. People who know how to form arguments don't need to revert to this particular fallacy.

      How about the fact that the American Bishops and the Pope wouldn't agree with him? How is that for turning your pathetic argument back around on itself? In my opinion, intelligent adults should be able to discuss the merits of an argument, and a university professor's arguments can be expected to pass scrutiny before being accepted.

      May 16, 2012 at 2:26 pm |
  6. JB

    "Marge, have you ever read this thing? Technically, we're not allowed to go to the bathroom." - Rev. Lovejoy

    May 16, 2012 at 12:08 pm |
    • sam stone

      "You know, the one with all the well-meaning rules that don't work in real life - uh, Christianity." – Homer Simpson

      May 16, 2012 at 12:15 pm |
  7. JCMars

    I'm shocked!!!! A pro-gay interpretation of the Bible on Liberal CNN. Your pandering has reached a new low, CNN.

    I'm so glad your tagline is not "Fair and Balanced" because you make no attempts to be. I think this article should be counted as an Obama Campaign Contribution. You just need to add the "Obama 2012" sticker to your logo and you're all set for full disclosure.

    Your new ad line "CNN – Providing Free Rides for Democrats, liberals, and their supporters since 1980."

    May 16, 2012 at 12:07 pm |
    • Bet

      I do wish Rupert Murdoch would stop posting here.

      May 16, 2012 at 12:11 pm |
    • Peggy

      CNN pandering? What a shock!

      May 16, 2012 at 12:14 pm |
    • Sidprejean

      Didn't notice anything in your response that said the article was, in any way, inaccurate.

      May 16, 2012 at 12:19 pm |
    • Primewonk

      Hmmm. Imagine that – another fundiot (fundamentalist îdiot) who takes umbrage at this article. Yet, for some reason, they don't bother refuting a single solitary point the author made.

      May 16, 2012 at 2:31 pm |
    • fred

      Primewonk
      What is there to dispute this guy is all over the place without any Biblical foundation in what he says. It is a CNN hit piece on the Church and Christians which is typical for them.
      Ho-mo$exual behavior was not something people would wonder “hum just what could that be?” No one in these cultures that were being addressed at that time had to scratch their head. Bill Clinton types were not around 2,000 years ago to say “it depends on what the definition of is is”

      Sin is sin and it is an offense to a Holy God. It is written very clear also that all men sin and sin is not a function of orientation but the rejection of God. It is an election year so suddenly this crops up to make fools of backward Republicans and allow the enlightened compassionate Democrats to show off their sincere concern for all of mankind that looked down upon.

      May 16, 2012 at 2:42 pm |
  8. Mike Blackadder

    Daniel's argument misses the glaringly obvious condemnation of gay s-e-x in the bible. The faith teaches that s-e-x is good, but not when the act is modified from its intended design. In particular Catholics believe it is a mortal sin when it is premarital, masterbtory, and when we deny the possibility of conceiving children (ie through the use of contraceptives). For example in the bible God strikes a man dead for pulling-out. Unfortunately, the faith suggests that gay s-e-x falls under the same category as these others and if we interpret differently for gays, then we must accept a new interpretation of these other acts for the same reason.

    The corollary is that if your faith accepts hetero impurities (such as contraceptives or masterbtn) but condemns gays, then you may be rightfully accused of hypocrisy. Therefore, should we think God hates gays? No, in fact if they are chaste, the they aren't even sinning! And if they do have s-e-x, I don't see how it is worse than other sins of impurities among heteros.

    But maybe the relevant point is that following this argument the bible does not support gay marriage.

    And I think Daniel misses the point that it is Obama's administration that obviously is imposing its morals on Christianity rather tha nthe other way around. He says Christians must pay for contraceptives, so do you think he will respect their right to follow their faith with respect to marriage? Will he compel churches to perform gay marriage despite their beliefs?

    May 16, 2012 at 12:06 pm |
    • Bet

      Maybe the relevant point is that there is no god and the bible is a made up book intended to control the masses.

      May 16, 2012 at 12:08 pm |
    • jk105

      Mickey...

      Biblical support of s-l-a-v-e-r-y. Bad or good? I reject its position on s-l-a-v-e-r-y just as much as its idea of s-ex.

      May 16, 2012 at 12:11 pm |
    • Rbnlegnd101

      Can you help me out. I can't seem to find a good guideline on how to perform a burnt offering, as required in the bible.

      May 16, 2012 at 12:17 pm |
    • Get it right

      God struck not cuz he pulled out but because he disobeyed God's order to pro-create with his brothers widow. This is the problem for a lot of humans, they rarely retell a story correctly.

      May 16, 2012 at 12:28 pm |
    • Mike Blackadder

      Biblical support of s-l-a-v-e-r-y? Where does it say s-l-a-v-e-r-y is good? It doesn't. Does it acknowledge s-l-a-v-e-r-y at the time? Yes. It also is silent about howmto makep-e-n-I-c-i-llin. Therefore it's all bull right?

      BTW Dan Sav-age isn't exactly a biblical scholar.

      May 16, 2012 at 1:18 pm |
  9. Blasphemy (rips shirt)

    Ok so did anyone view the website of Daniel A. Helminiak? Are you kidding me. Dammit let me post an opinion. My blog does not look like it was created by GEO CITIES!!! At least get a wordpress template. WOW! This guy is soooooo pro gay and there is not a competing response so how is this fair CNN?

    May 16, 2012 at 12:04 pm |
    • tnfreethinker

      Pro gay is the only moral stance to take.

      May 16, 2012 at 12:05 pm |
    • Bet

      Lol, sarcasm. Good one.

      May 16, 2012 at 12:07 pm |
    • catholic engineer

      It's the only stance to take if you're gay. Not if you're using common sense. It's unnatural.

      May 16, 2012 at 12:07 pm |
    • Madtown

      catholic engineer
      It's the only stance to take if you're gay. Not if you're using common sense. It's unnatural.
      ------
      Says who, you? According to your common sense? You're a bigot, what's sensical about your opinions?

      May 16, 2012 at 12:11 pm |
    • AtheistSteve

      Actually it's the only stance to take if you're not stuck in the middle ages mentality of religious dogma. There is no secular argument against same s3x marriage that doesn't also apply equally to hetero marriage.

      May 16, 2012 at 12:13 pm |
    • catholic engineer

      It's the only stance to take if you're gay. Not if you use common sense. Gay equals unnatural.

      May 16, 2012 at 12:13 pm |
    • catholic engineer

      It is also immoral.

      May 16, 2012 at 12:14 pm |
    • BamaDaniel

      All Catholic priest gay

      May 16, 2012 at 12:14 pm |
    • YeahRight

      "Gay equals unnatural."

      The experts around the world have proven you WRONG.

      May 16, 2012 at 12:17 pm |
    • sam stone

      Catholic Engineer: You have no authority to lecture anyone on morality

      May 16, 2012 at 12:18 pm |
    • Get it right

      If its unnatural, why do male dogs mount other male dogs? they're not gay as they also mount females.......

      May 16, 2012 at 12:32 pm |
    • YeahRight

      "If its unnatural"

      homosexuality has been documented in over 1500 other species and hundred of thousands of experts have proven it's a natural part of human sexuality. Only uneducated prejudice people make your claim.

      May 16, 2012 at 12:37 pm |
    • Rbnlegnd101

      You are complaining about unnatural, on your computer? What part of nature provides for your computer?

      May 16, 2012 at 12:49 pm |
    • Primewonk

      @ Catholic Engineer. I would have thought that an engineer would have taken at least a freshman level biology course in high school or college.

      It seems like we find hômosèxuality in almost every species we investigate for it. So far, we've found it in 1500+ species of mammals, birds, fish, insects, other vertibrates, and invertebrates. It occurs across nature. Thus, by definition, it is natural.

      You've been told this many times before. I'm not sure why you are unable or unwilling to understand this.

      May 16, 2012 at 2:59 pm |
  10. Scott

    They may as well let gays marry... women have made a joke out of the vows of marriage. Why not let the gays participate... at least then 75% of the divorces won't be initiated by women any more.

    May 16, 2012 at 12:02 pm |
  11. ClarksonCote

    You seem to be forgetting Mark chapter 10, Matthew chapter 19 and others, that are clear that MARRIAGE is between a man and a woman, and the idea of MARRIAGE should remain as such. It's analogous to male/male couples or female/female couples arguing that it's not fair they can't have babies. Marriage, is by defintion, between a man and a woman, just as the desire to give birth to a child requires a man and a woman.

    Mark 10 Excerpt: "But from the beginning of the creation God made them male and female. For this cause shall a man leave his father and mother, and cleave to his wife; And they twain shall be one flesh: so then they are no more twain, but one flesh."

    May 16, 2012 at 12:01 pm |
    • YeahRight

      "Marriage, is by defintion, between a man and a woman, just as the desire to give birth to a child requires a man and a woman."

      Marriage existed long before your bible. Christianity doesn't have a monopoly on it. Based on the Supreme Court ruling marriage in this country is viewed as a civil right. The experts have proven that being gay isn't a choice, it's not a mental illness and it can't be voluntarily changed. Gays deserve to have equal civil rights to protect their families.

      May 16, 2012 at 12:05 pm |
    • SkepticOne

      The J man was answering a question about a MAN divorcing his Wife; he never defines marriage as just between a man and a woman only. Mentions nothing about restricting it to only man and woman, only that once joined you shouldn't divorce.

      May 16, 2012 at 12:07 pm |
    • jk105

      Thanks Clarkson
      but whoops...
      Do you also support the position on slavery?
      Exodus 21:1-4: "If thou buy an Hebrew servant, six years he
      shall serve: and in the seventh he shall go out free for nothing. If he came in by
      himself, he shall go out by himself: if he were married, then his wife shall go out with
      him. If his master have given him a wife, and she have born him sons or daughters; the
      wife and her children shall be her master's, and he shall go out by himself."
      Deuteronomy 15:12-18: "And if thy brother, an Hebrew man, or
      an Hebrew woman, be sold unto thee, and serve thee six years; then in the seventh year
      thou shalt let him go free from thee.And when thou sendest him out free from thee, thou
      shalt not let him go away empty: Thou shalt furnish him liberally out of thy flock, and
      out of thy floor, and out of thy winepress: of that wherewith the LORD thy God hath
      blessed thee thou shalt give unto him."
      Exodus 21:7: "And if a man sell his daughter to be a
      maidservant, she shall not go out as the menservants do."
      Leviticus 25:44-46: "Your male and female
      slaves are to come from the nations around you; from them you may buy
      slaves. You may also buy some of the temporary residents living among
      you and members of their clans born in your country, and they will
      become your property. You can will them to your children as inherited
      property and can make them slaves for life, but you must not rule over
      your fellow Israelites ruthlessly." (NIV)
      Leviticus 25:48-53: "After that he is sold he may be redeemed
      again; one of his brethren may redeem him: Either his uncle, or his uncle's son, may
      redeem him, or any that is nigh of kin unto him of his family may redeem him; or if he be
      able, he may redeem himself. And he shall reckon with him that bought him from the year
      that he was sold to him unto the year of jubilee: and the price of his sale shall be
      according unto the number of years, according to the time of an hired servant shall it be
      with him."
      If not, why should we take you Biblical definition of marriage seriously?

      May 16, 2012 at 12:09 pm |
    • ChristopherM

      There are literally dozens of admonitions against strayt people in your Bible, with something like seven to gay folks. Now no one is saying god loves you less, just that you need more supervision.

      May 16, 2012 at 12:11 pm |
    • Patrick M. Mitchell

      Um...Mark is writing about divorce and this has absolutely nothing to do with gay marriage. Read the entire passage – and then fight against legal divorce because that's what your include passage is referencing.

      May 16, 2012 at 12:24 pm |
    • ClarksonCote

      It's not just in relation to divorce...

      1 Cor. 7:2-3 says, "Since there is so much immorality each man should have his own wife, and each woman her own husband. The husband should fulfill his marital duty to his wife and likewise."

      May 16, 2012 at 12:54 pm |
    • ClarksonCote

      @YeahRight, you said, "Gays deserve to have equal civil rights to protect their families."

      I agree, but that doesn't have to be defined as "marriage"

      May 16, 2012 at 1:01 pm |
    • jk105

      Clarkson
      you neglected the question about slavery.
      I guess you couldn't answer it.

      May 16, 2012 at 2:27 pm |
  12. Jeff

    This was a sad attempt to twist scripture with more mental and theological gymnastics than I have ever seen. The rule of interpretation is "if the plain sense makes sense use no other sense". Obviously there are metaphors and symbolism in the bible but they are easy to spot in context -- you really have to twist scripture to come up with this interpretaton from the writer of this column. God warns in the book of Revelation not to "add to His Words". There are eternal consequences for "monkeying" with God's clear revelation and especially teaching others. I pray that you will come to know the author of the Bible in a personal way.

    May 16, 2012 at 12:01 pm |
    • Madtown

      God warns in the book of Revelation not to "add to His Words
      -------
      LOL!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Unbelievable arrogance and ingnorance. Never mind the FACT that every word in the bible is man's, not God's. "Add to his words"?!?!? What do you think humans have been up to for all these years? They've written the word, edited the word, select the books that comprise the word, left out other relevant books, and continue to revise and add to the word.

      May 16, 2012 at 12:04 pm |
    • No Religion

      I hope that you come to have common sense and stop following a 2,000 year old book written by a bunch of men who wrote about an imaginary guy in the sky. But I won't hold my breath.

      May 16, 2012 at 12:04 pm |
    • YeahRight

      "The rule of interpretation is "if the plain sense makes sense use no other sense""

      Part of reading comprehension 101 is that you put it into historical context to get the true meaning. Nowhere in your bible does your god condemn the saved loving respectful relationship of a gay couple as we know and understand it today. Your bible does condemn male prostitution, idolatry and using sex to worship a pagan god.

      May 16, 2012 at 12:08 pm |
    • Steven

      I completely agree with your response!

      May 16, 2012 at 12:08 pm |
    • SkepticOne

      Not to mention the book of revelations barely made the cut in the bible when they were choosing which books were good enough; the ramblings of a man hopped up on bad rye bread. Not written by god. Nothing in the Bible is written by God, he doesn't work in mysterious ways and if he wanted to invoke worship of him he might let his presence be obviously known instead of working through flawed, scared, little men.

      May 16, 2012 at 12:11 pm |
    • KBatch

      Those who twist the verses into anti-gay justifications are the ones "adding to" the words. Or, more importantly, ignoring what words that don't suit their positions. Take Paul's words, where he is proof-texted as described above. Read what comes before: "Romans 1:23-25 “they exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images resembling a mortal human being or birds or four-footed animals or reptiles…they exchanged the truth about God for a lie and worshipped and served the creature rather than the Creator.” This is clearly referring to pagan ritual, not consensual relationships.

      May 16, 2012 at 12:19 pm |
    • Katie

      "God warns in the book of Revelation not to "add to His Words". There are eternal consequences for "monkeying" with God's clear revelation and especially teaching others. I pray that you will come to know the author of the Bible in a personal way."

      First of all, there is no singular "author" of the BIble. The New Testament is a compilation of books and epistles, written by many different authors. The Book of Revelation, attributed to a man named "John," is just another apocalyptic story, resembling thousands of others that were written in the same time period. It was probably written to encourage the Christian community it was addressing to endure suffering, not to intimidate 21st century Christians. The author had no idea that it would still be read almost 2000 years later. Lastly, it is ridiculous to think that no one has "add[ed] to His Words." There are many manuscripts of New Testament books, and they show that each book and epistle has been altered countless times, probably by scribes wishing to further their own agendas or clarify the meaning of phrases, etc.

      May 16, 2012 at 12:26 pm |
  13. marcus

    if nothing else, the bible has proven to be an absolute piece of garbage, serving as the justification for killing non-believers, enslaving races of people, and substantiating all kinds of other forms of stupidity among humans.. why we waste ANY time debating its position on any moral question merely proves the mass of the US population, and thus the media here, continues to have its head buried deep in its proverbial butt..

    May 16, 2012 at 11:56 am |
    • JM

      It isn't garbage. Unfortunately, many people have warped its teaching to support their own ends. I would say that many people who claim to be Christians don't even read the Bible and have no idea what it actually says/teaches.

      May 16, 2012 at 12:00 pm |
    • massiveaudience

      The bible is the ultimate moral authority for millions, and yet the moral tradition of America (and Canada and Mexico) has changed over the last 200 years. Interestingly enough, the bible itself has not changed; therefore, the interpretations of it must have changed. I think the change in moral assessments is driven by secular societies hammer blows that progress despite the anchor to ancient tradition that is the bible.

      May 16, 2012 at 12:01 pm |
    • GodPot

      If Constantine had not converted we would be debating how powerful Zeus' lightning bolts are.

      May 16, 2012 at 12:03 pm |
    • A Serpent's Thought

      @ marcus

      Morality is not in question but rather "immoralites" are the questionnable concerns and in humanisms' regards we do seek all Acts and actions cir.c.u.m/venting the moral relationships of leavened rationalisms' regards!

      May 16, 2012 at 12:07 pm |
    • Billy

      Rubbish pulp fiction.

      May 16, 2012 at 12:09 pm |
    • SkepticOne

      @GodPot Jupiter, not Zeus. Maybe Zoroaster...

      May 16, 2012 at 12:14 pm |
    • Katie

      "if nothing else, the bible has proven to be an absolute piece of garbage, serving as the justification for killing non-believers, enslaving races of people, and substantiating all kinds of other forms of stupidity among humans.. why we waste ANY time debating its position on any moral question merely proves the mass of the US population, and thus the media here, continues to have its head buried deep in its proverbial butt.."

      I agree that many Christians, if not the majority of Christians, misinterpret the Bible, but it cannot simply be dismissed as an "absolute piece of garbage." The Hebrew Bible and New Testament include books and epistles written at different times and compiled into one volume. Each book has its own agenda, usually addressed to a particular person or community. Reading the Bible gives us important social and historical insight, even if it is not the Word of God.

      May 16, 2012 at 12:33 pm |
    • YeahRight

      "Reading the Bible gives us important social and historical insight, even if it is not the Word of God."

      The bible has been proven not to be an historical document.

      May 16, 2012 at 12:39 pm |
  14. Marc

    I am not suprised that CNN found a PHD who is willing to manipulate scripture. Was it just me or did he try to establish that Paul was a liar?

    May 16, 2012 at 11:55 am |
    • Madtown

      Manipulate scripture, key phrase. Just exactly what religious leaders do each time they offer new versions of the bible. You make the same complaint with them?

      May 16, 2012 at 11:57 am |
    • he is in the closet

      The fact is that several people have "manipulated" scripture to fit their own beliefs.... catholics, mormans, baptist, methodist.... they all do it! My guess is that you manipulate them to make you feel more holy.

      May 16, 2012 at 12:00 pm |
    • HisStoryPal

      It wasn't just you. He was practically deceitful in his partial citations. But, I WAS surprised – and disappointed by CNN's choice.

      May 16, 2012 at 12:00 pm |
    • HotAirAce

      All religious leaders (charlatans all) are delusional or liars, that all manipulate The Babble.

      May 16, 2012 at 12:03 pm |
    • Erin

      I would reevaluate your reading comprehension skills. He simply said that the terms that Paul used, when translated, did not have the same connotations in his time that they do now, which is another thing fanatics like to ignore. This book was written 3000 years ago. Am I to believe that we have not experienced any social, cultural, linguistic evolution since that time?

      May 16, 2012 at 12:04 pm |
    • JM

      Gospel = Good News = Everyone has fallen short of the glory of God = Everyone needs God's Mercy

      However, here we are condemning one group of people while ignoring our own sins. The point is to get right with God, not to put others down to make ourselves feel better about ourselves. PAUL called himself the worst of sinners.

      37 “Do not judge, and you will not be judged. Do not condemn, and you will not be condemned. Forgive, and you will be forgiven. 38 Give, and it will be given to you. A good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over, will be poured into your lap. For with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.”
      39 He also told them this parable: “Can the blind lead the blind? Will they not both fall into a pit? 40 The student is not above the teacher, but everyone who is fully trained will be like their teacher.
      41 “Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother’s eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye? 42 How can you say to your brother, ‘Brother, let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when you yourself fail to see the plank in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye.

      http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=luke%206&version=NIV

      May 16, 2012 at 12:04 pm |
  15. palintwit

    Sarah Palin is the only one who can heal and re-unify our country. In order to do that she must return to her motorhome and resume her cross country tour. She will have to visit cities and towns both large and small, taking care to speak to only those "real Americans", dispensing her sage advice and folksy, homespun common sense solutions. We can be a great nation again but we must all follow the "Palin Path".

    Please everyone... we MUST heed the "Palin Path". It is our only hope. 'She' is our only hope !

    May 16, 2012 at 11:54 am |
    • Satan

      Wow. Go to kitchen, insert hand in garbage disposal, bleed out! Meet your god! One less idiot. Win win for all!

      May 16, 2012 at 11:58 am |
    • JM

      Thanks. We needed the laugh. =>

      May 16, 2012 at 12:07 pm |
    • Anonymous Joe

      Satan, I think palintwit was being ironical

      May 16, 2012 at 12:16 pm |
    • Boytjie

      Palin can bypass Swiss Miss Bachman who isn't a "real American"

      May 16, 2012 at 12:19 pm |
  16. J

    Clearly, the author cannot read Greek. The Greek text in question from Romans 1:26, "παρὰ φύσιν", literally means "against nature" or "unnatural". Also, the context of the passage is "Unbelief and its Consequences"....this author is clearly commiting 'eisegesis', imposing his own meaning on the text.

    May 16, 2012 at 11:53 am |
    • T

      Absolutely. He's a complete fool and does not understand.

      May 16, 2012 at 11:55 am |
    • he is in the closet

      lol, so you pulled out your "greek translations for geeks" and make a stupid comment. Congrats!!! Whenever you begin to study anciet greek.. they say them most dangerous translator is the one who has one class under their belt.

      May 16, 2012 at 12:03 pm |
    • KBatch

      Please read what comes before that section: Romans 1:23-25 “they exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images resembling a mortal human being or birds or four-footed animals or reptiles…they exchanged the truth about God for a lie and worshipped and served the creature rather than the Creator.” This clearly refers to pagan ritual.

      May 16, 2012 at 12:20 pm |
    • SkepticOne

      You do realize you're not reading the ancient Greek translation. You're probably reading the Greek translation of the English translation of the Latin translation of the Ancient Greek translation... ever played the game telephone? over the course of 2000 years?

      May 16, 2012 at 12:20 pm |
    • J

      The NASB (New American Standard Bible) is the most literal English translation of the New Testament directly from the original Greek that we have today. The translators responsible for the NASB are clearly world-experts in the language.

      May 16, 2012 at 1:29 pm |
  17. Honey Badger Dont Care

    GOD HATES Polytextilites!!

    Leviticus: 19:19

    May 16, 2012 at 11:52 am |
    • Satan

      He hates faggots and niggers too! For the record, I support gay marriage. But I can't stand filthy niggers.

      May 16, 2012 at 12:03 pm |
    • Shannon

      this may be the best response ever.

      May 16, 2012 at 12:11 pm |
    • SkepticOne

      Satan is the ultimate troll.

      May 16, 2012 at 12:22 pm |
  18. n8263

    It is immoral to impose your religious superstition on others.

    You do not believe in religion because you honestly think it is true, you believe in it because you fear mortality or are seeking meaning in your life. It does not take a genius to figure out all religion is man made, so for humanity's sake, please stop lying to yourself.

    Deluding yourself in religion does not change reality. Lying to yourself is probably the worst possible way to try to find meaning.

    May 16, 2012 at 11:51 am |
    • HisStoryPal

      Yawn. (we saw it the 1st time)

      May 16, 2012 at 11:57 am |
    • DragonSlayer Lights Your Fire

      We get you point already n8263. I'm for the cause
      but ENOUGH of the copy & past of your same argument already
      geesh

      May 17, 2012 at 3:34 am |
  19. catholic engineer

    There is one positive for gay marriage. If their kind are allowed to get married, then they can be tracked. Tracking them allows us to make sure their votes don't count during elections. I say let them marry. They can't breed, and prevent them from voting. If I had my way though, they'd all be shipped to an island in the pacific. Close to Antarctica.

    May 16, 2012 at 11:51 am |
    • Madtown

      That's an interesting idea. Where then do we send people like you? You know, the blatant ignoramuses of the world?

      May 16, 2012 at 11:54 am |
    • Satan

      Can't wait for you to get down here engineer, when you get here maybe we can gang ra pe a dead family member of yours or insert broken bottles on your mouth and butt. Sounds fun.

      May 16, 2012 at 11:55 am |
    • palintwit

      Glenn Beck sends his regards.

      May 16, 2012 at 11:56 am |
    • BamaDaniel

      Up sh.t creek

      May 16, 2012 at 11:57 am |
    • HS

      You will have no priests left Catholic Engineer

      May 16, 2012 at 11:57 am |
    • kenny

      and if the rest of humanity had their way people like you would get shipped to that island....

      May 16, 2012 at 11:58 am |
    • Satan

      I think you mean up your sh•t creek bamadan, where your dads wrist got stuck last night.

      May 16, 2012 at 11:59 am |
    • BamaDaniel

      He doesn't have any now

      May 16, 2012 at 12:00 pm |
    • catholic engineer

      Incorrect, Kenny. I'm not gay.

      May 16, 2012 at 12:00 pm |
    • BamaDaniel

      Satan you catch fun in the mouth

      May 16, 2012 at 12:02 pm |
    • catholic engineer

      I'm certain he's catching it in more places than just his mouth. He needs to grow up.

      May 16, 2012 at 12:04 pm |
    • Satan

      Your right, grow up, stop believing in imaginary friends and mythical stories....

      May 16, 2012 at 12:16 pm |
    • TruthPrevails :-)

      catholic: What makes you think they'd be tracked? I think it would be better if they polled all christards like you to find out who are against gay unions and ship you bigots off to some island with no internet/phone service so the rest of the world can live equally without your delusions causing further damage.

      May 16, 2012 at 12:26 pm |
    • Rbnlegnd101

      interesting idea, catholic engineer. plenty of real christians feel the same way about catholics. bear in mind that once you legitimize a tactic, it can be used against other groups, including your group. Does the pope have any advice on which island catholics should be sent to?

      May 16, 2012 at 12:55 pm |
  20. Ken

    It's interesting that he fails to continue the verse he's referencing from Romans which finishes "and received in themselves the due penalty for their perversion."

    May 16, 2012 at 11:50 am |
    • Honey Badger Dont Care

      That is normal for a cafeteria xtian. They only choose to believe the good stuff and leave out the things that they dont like.

      May 16, 2012 at 11:53 am |
    • Erin

      Honey, I nearly laughed out loud when I saw that comment. There is no group on the planet that does exactly what you say than the evangelical Christians. You just completely embarrassed yourself.

      May 16, 2012 at 12:09 pm |
    • KBatch

      And you have neglected to read the section before it: Romans 1:23-25 “they exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images resembling a mortal human being or birds or four-footed animals or reptiles…they exchanged the truth about God for a lie and worshipped and served the creature rather than the Creator.”

      May 16, 2012 at 12:21 pm |
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About this blog

The CNN Belief Blog covers the faith angles of the day's biggest stories, from breaking news to politics to entertainment, fostering a global conversation about the role of religion and belief in readers' lives. It's edited by CNN's Daniel Burke with contributions from Eric Marrapodi and CNN's worldwide news gathering team.